The tone and content of messages promulgated by the university in stringent financial times are critical. Mila Kopumpilova reported in the St. Paul Pioneer Press that over $415,000 in bonuses were paid to executives at Minnesota state colleges and universities for excellent performance during the past year while people are being laid off and budgets are being cut. Tough message.

But Minnesota is not fiddling alone.

The California State University System is awash in furlough days. Faculty and staff -- who may be asked to take as many as 24 furlough days next year -- are not pleased with this ten percent gross pay cut. Students are upset about it and the accompanying tuition increases.